The Kingsmen Shakespeare Company is celebrating the 400th anniversary of the Bard of Avon's death and the 20th season of its own annual festival with 24 hours of activities including a sonnet marathon, a candlelight reading of “Macbeth” and Shakespeare yoga.
The free Bard-day bash on the California Lutheran University campus in Thousand Oaks will begin with a welcome reception at 4 p.m. April 23, which is the date of Shakespeare’s death and also, according to tradition, his birth in 1564.
The April 23 events will continue with a game at 6:30 p.m., a panel discussion on setting plays in traditional and alternative settings at 7 p.m., and an interactive Shakespeare slam at 8 p.m. “Macbeth” will be read by candlelight at 9:30 p.m. and musical works inspired by the Bard will be played starting at midnight.
Bill Walthall, a former high school English and drama teacher in Oxnard who writes The Bill Shakespeare Project blog, will give a presentation on the concept of time in “Romeo and Juliet” at 5:30 p.m. The Kingsmen Shakespeare Company’s Shakespeare Educational Tour will give a workshop demonstration at 6 p.m.
April 24 will begin with yoga incorporating Shakespeare quotations at 8 a.m., continue with a sonnet brunch at 10:30 a.m. and a cabaret at 11:30 a.m., and conclude with a reception at 3:30 p.m. A panel of actors will share their experiences portraying Hamlet at 9:30 a.m. A full reading of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” which will be featured at this year’s summer festival, will begin at 12:30 p.m.
Throughout the marathon, visitors can step into a video-recording booth to talk about their connections to Shakespeare and the Kingsmen Shakespeare Company. Snippets will be shared prior to the closing reception.
The Theatre Arts Department of Cal Lutheran launched the Kingsmen Shakespeare Festival in 1997 in conjunction with the Santa Susana Repertory Theatre Company. The success of the first festival led to the establishment of the nonprofit Kingsmen Shakespeare Company. In 2009, the organization became the professional theater company of Cal Lutheran. This summer, the festival will present “Henry V” in addition to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The company also heads up the educational tour in local schools, an apprentice company and a theater camp.
All of the events will be held in or around Overton Hall, which is located on the south side of Memorial Parkway near Regent Avenue. Free parking is available in the lots at the corner of Olsen Road and Mountclef Boulevard.
The marathon also will be streamed live at CalLutheran.edu/live. For more information, go to KingsmenShakespeare.org/400-years/ or contact Jason Rennie at firstname.lastname@example.org.